The Great 2008/09 Winter MisAdventure
Destination Quartzsite, Arizona
October 6 through October 30, 2008
David and JoEllen left the MisAdventure Ranch October 6, starting on their 4th journey to the Desert Southwest. Bill and Stella Pickett, JoEllens parents, have again joined us as we venture through New Mexico and Arizona. Using our NM State Parks annual camping pass, we stopped one night at Storrie Lake in Las Vegas, 6 nights at Elephant Butte, and are spending 3 nights at Leasburg Dam. We left the Picketts after Elephant Butte as they continued on to Demming and Rockhound State Park. We will join up with them Thursday and stay at Rockhound as well.
Leasburg Dam State Park is 15 miles north of Las Cruces, New Mexico. This is very senic country, located in the Chihuahuan Desert. El Paso Texas is 56 miles from camp, Alamagordo is 70, La Mesilla is 20, and the White Sands is 50 miles away. The beautiful Organ Mountains dominate the eastern horizon. Las Cruces has several Wally Worlds, a Sam's, an indoor mall, and every big box retailer ever needed and more. We like this area and town.
COAS: My Bookstore is an amazing destination.
We spent an afternoon browsing the titles of the books in this establishment. David left with 5 books and JoEllen picked up a dozen or so as well. Included was a book on poisonous dwellers of the desert (1966), an index of mining properties in Yuma County, AZ (1978), Yellowstone trails hiking guide (1978), a book of Arizona legends and lore (1993), "Adventures at Timberline" by Jack Foster (1963), many on rughooking and other crafty subjects, and a bunch of paperback romances. Guess who reads what???? We save our books to use as trade when we come here, and are very pleased with this shop.
White Sands National Monument
Celebrating JoEllen's Birthday
October 15, 2008
JoEllen thought it would be nice to visit the White Sands again. We had been here on the Winter 2005 MisAdventure as well. This is the largest gypsum sand dunes in the world. When we arrived, we were greeted with this sign. The park was closed due to testing going on at the neighboring missle range. Top secret stuff for sure. After checking with the rangers, we only waited about 1 hour for the gates to swing open.
Please enjoy the following gallery.
The common mineral gypsum, hydrous calcium sulfate, is rarely found as sand because it is soluble in water. Rain and snow in the mountains dissolve gypsum from the rocks and carry it into the Tularosa Basin. Rivers would usually carry dissolved gypsum to the sea, but no river drains the basin here. The water, with the gypsum and other sediments, is trapped here as well. These waters collect in playas
, dry lakes, the water evaporates, the minerals turn to crystals of Selenite. The freezing and thawing and wetting and drying eventually break down the crystals turning into sand size particles light enough to be moved by the wind. These dunes are created from the crystals of Lake Lucero and gypsum sand covers over 275 square miles.
The sand gets into shoes, socks, pants and everywhere touched. It creates neat tracks and leaves cool mark on The Mighty 350's tires. Walking on, playing in, being entertained with this sand was a fine MisAdventure! (and dinner is yet to come)
The day was ended with a fine dinner of Mexican food from La Posta de La Mesilla in a former Butterfield Stage stop. This place has GREAT food.
JoEllen had a prickly marqarita made with cactus juice added, pink in color and tasty. David stayed with the house marq and was not disappointed. We each had rice, beans, coleslaw, a chile relleno and a rolled taco on our combination plates. JoEllen had a compuestas cup on her combo, David had a green chili enchilada. We finished with a soppapilla and honey. Time was spent visiting with the many parrots and other birds located in the lobby, and the piranas in the tanks as well.
Billy the Kid stayed here.
La Mesilla was a stage stop in the mid 1800's, under the flag of Mexico. The Glasden Purchase secured this land for the United States. Mesilla was the largest settlement between San Antonio Texas, and San Diego, California. Today it is a collection of shops selling high end goods, art, jewelery, and souvenirs scattered around the town square and Catholic Church. This posta, an inn for travelers, started as a frieght business run by Roy Bean and his brother. It was then a lodging house and started as a restaurant in 1936.
Rockhound State Park
Deming, New Mexico
October 17 through October 29, 2008
Looking south from camp to the Florida Mountains.
Our campsite at Rockhound. Little Florida Mountains in background.
Deming and Rockhound State Park is a great place to hang waiting for the temperatures in Quartzsite to stop trying to reach 100. We have stayed here many time in the past, and enjoy the town, the views, the sunrises and sunsets. The photo at left shows the bloom of the Octillo Cactus, many were in bloom here. Two different types of quail can also be found here, as well as lizards and lots of cactus.
The desert of New Mexico also gives us a chance to enjoy one of God's beautiful creatures, the Pyrrhuloxia. The cardinals of the West, pictured below, look like strangely drab parrots desperately misplaced from their tropical home. Like northern cardinals, the male Pyrrhuloxia may nibble on a Christmas cactus, then dart away to perch near his mate and delicately place the bright red fruit in her beak.
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